Roughing Gouge

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Forum topic by Sunburned posted 03-09-2019 10:11 PM 663 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sunburned's profile


74 posts in 1566 days

03-09-2019 10:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question lathe chisel turning

Hey all. I recently got a small lathe and am loving it. I have turned several pens and a magic wand, but the starter turning tool set I got I am already outgrowing. Specifically the roughing gouge as that is what i am using 90% of the time. I was hoping I could get some advice on a good roughing gouge to get and an approximate price range on it.


-- Woodworking Forever

10 replies so far

View gwilki's profile


365 posts in 2524 days

#1 posted 03-09-2019 10:15 PM

Why do you believe that you have outgrown the spindle roughing gouge? What size is it? I turn lots of spindles and end grain vases with diameters of up to about 8” with a 1” spindle roughing gouge and it works very well. For pens and magic wands, a 1/2” would be plenty.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View Gittyup's profile


215 posts in 3007 days

#2 posted 03-09-2019 11:08 PM

Grant raises a good point. It largely depends on what you have, what you want to turn, and what lathe(s) you plan to use now and in the future. A 1” RG is pretty standard. You just have to keep it sharp, and DO NOT use it on end grain (like bowls). Turning is a vortex to suck money from your wallet Things to consider:

good sharpening system – I like the 1700 rpm grinders with CBN wheels and a vari-grind system
“best chisel tools” – look at carterandsons and Thompsontools

but cheaper tools are good too, like benjamin’s best, crown, etc. And look for used sets, if you have almost nothing, CL and ebay.

I’m pretty new to turning too. I first bought a carbide set because I didn’t have a sharpening system or know how to use it. Turned out I wasted my money on the carbides. I prefer the traditional tools and eventually bought a sharpening set. a parting tool and bedan from Carterandsons is next on the horizon for me.

Good bowl and spindle gouges are THE most useful tools. You can do a huge amount with them, include roughing.

Also, a good chuck is essential. I bought a cheap barracuda to get started. I should have gotten a SuperNova2. Better value, good mid-range size. I just ordered a Vicmarc VM120 as it is sized best to my lathe. And I will be adding SN2’s later, when I can afford them.

-- tel

View MrUnix's profile


8502 posts in 3249 days

#3 posted 03-09-2019 11:25 PM

Not sure how one would outgrow turning tools – other than having sharpened them to the point of them being little tiny nubs :)


PS: I strongly disagree about a good chuck being essential! Handy, yes – absolutely gotta have, no way.

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View mike02719's profile


298 posts in 4836 days

#4 posted 03-10-2019 12:24 AM

A lot of good information here. You can get hung up on a certain tool when you get good with it. Practice on scrap wood with all of your tools and you will be that comfortable with all or most of them. Sharpening is very important. If you are good at it, you can get along with somewhat cheaper tools until later. Take a look at youtube, you can find instructions to do anything. A vast amount of much needed equipment can be made right in your shop. Take a look at Capt Eddie Castelin, a good, instructional site and a source for tools. Gittyup is right, that sucking sound is coming from your walet.

-- Mike, Massachusetts

View Lazyman's profile


6924 posts in 2438 days

#5 posted 03-10-2019 01:02 AM

Because I wasn’t sure how much I was even going to like turning, I made the mistake of buying a $30 set of cheap turning tools. If nothing else I figured that I would use them to learn how to sharpen them correctly without worrying about wasting steel. They are pretty crappy tools but when sharpened correctly still work very well. Even the lightweight roughing gouge works well enough when sharp. Instead of buying a set, I would suggest that you buy individual tools as you “need” them. Show us what you’ve got and what sort of turning you want to try and we will be glad to help you spend a few bucks. ;-)

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Sunburned's profile


74 posts in 1566 days

#6 posted 03-11-2019 02:16 AM

Thanks for all the advice. When I say outgrown I mean more that I believe the metal is not of the greatest quality and I am sharpening it very often. So I mean more of a gouge that will hold it’s edge longer. I did the same thing Lazyman did, got the inexpensive set to learn how to use/maintain them. This is what I have now.

-- Woodworking Forever

View gwilki's profile


365 posts in 2524 days

#7 posted 03-11-2019 11:44 AM

@sunburned: Now, I understand. :-) I think it’s safe to say that any set of tools for that price is not using the best metal. I recommend that you look at Doug Thompson’s site. He is not inexpensive, but his quality is excellent. There are many other very good tools out there. You will read a lot of about the various metal chemistries, but if you look for HSS, you really can’t go too far wrong.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View OSU55's profile


2771 posts in 3040 days

#8 posted 03-11-2019 12:25 PM

More than likely Ben Best tools from PSI will be a significant step up from what you have, for about $20-$25. My experience says they work about as well as any M2 hss tool. Next step is getting better steel such as M42 or powdered metal, probably &80-$100 per tool. Thompson, Dway, crown pm are good mfrs. I have a Crown Raz M42 bowl gouge that is pretty impressive steel wise but they dont have a rougher in that material. My advice is get a bens best and see how it compares to what you have.

View HokieKen's profile


17231 posts in 2189 days

#9 posted 03-11-2019 01:07 PM

I’ve been very happy with this gouge from Hurricane. In fact, I’ve been very happy with Hurricane tools in general.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Lazyman's profile


6924 posts in 2438 days

#10 posted 03-11-2019 01:15 PM

+1 on both the Hurricane and Benajamin’s Best tools.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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